THE WARMFRONT (WOMEN'S
MODEL) CHEST WARMER
Report - February 3, 2008
Field Report - April 8, 2008
Long Term Report - June 8,
Name: Pam Wyant
Height: 5 ft 5 in
Weight: 165 lb (77
West Virginia, U.S.A.
a long-time interest, I started
backpacking four years ago, beginning with day-hiking and single
overnights. Currently I’m mostly a ‘weekend warrior’, hiking and
backpacking mainly in the hills and valleys of West Virginia, but have
a project to section hike the Appalachian Trail (AT), accruing a little
200 mi (300 km) in the last two years. My usual shelter is a
occasionally I use a tent. In general my backpacking style is
minimalist and I try to cut as much pack weight as I can without
warmth, comfort, or safety.
Initial Report - February 3, 2008
Year of manufacture: 2008
Advertised weight: N/A
Measured weight: 2.05 oz (58 g)
Listed size: 20 x 13 in (51 x 33 cm)
Neck dimension: 13.5 in (34 cm)
Approx. overall measured size:
21. 5 x 13.5 in
(55 x 34 cm)
neck length: 14.25 in (36 cm)
Color tested: Black
Also available in Brown Leopard and Penguins
the last two months I have worn the Warmfront on 6 short day hikes (3
mi/5 km) in temperatures around 20 F to 50
F (-7 to 10 C) in conditions varying from calm and sunny to
breezy with light snow, and in some light misty rain.
The Warmfront is a wind resistant fleece
chest warmer. The women's model I am testing has a sculpted shape
which measures approximately 13.5 in (34 cm) at the shoulder, bust, and
hip areas, narrowing to approximately 11.5 in (29 cm) at the collarbone
and waist area. The overall length is approximately 21.5 in (55
cm) including the stand-up collar. The Warmfront is made from
"Malden Mills Wind Resistant, water-repellent, moisture transfer
fleece" with the neck made of "Malden Mills Stretch Fleece with
Vel-Stretch Tab" according to the manufacturer website.
The body of the Warmfront is a single layer of soft, dense fleece and
the neck is a double layer of stretchier fleece with a light nap.
The "Vel-Stretch Tab" is on the left side of the neck and is about 1 x
3 in (2.5 x 7.5 cm) overall, of which about 2 in (5 cm) extends beyond
the fleece neck. It has an elastic feel and is the 'loop' part of
the closure, which fastens over the 1 x 2 in (2.5 x 5 cm) hook
part of the closure on the right side of the neck.
The edges of the body and the rear of the neck seam are finished with a
serger style overlock stitch of bright pink thread. A small black
tag with the word "Warmfront", measuring approximately 0.5 x 2 in (1.25
x 5 cm), is sewn to the bottom of the neck on the left front.
Near the bottom of the body on the left wide is a 1 x 1 in (2.5 x 2.5
cm) white tag listing the fabric content as "100% Polyester", "Made in
USA", and size as "Women's M". On the reverse side of this tag
are laundering instructions; "Machine Wash Warm" "Do Not Bleach"
"Tumble Dry Low". The size on the label is of particular interest
to me, since the website simply states the sizing as "One Size, Women's
Trying it on:
Warmfront is very simple to put on - I simply wrap the neck piece
around my neck and fasten the Vel-Stretch Tab to the hook side of the
fastener at the back. This properly positions the front of the
warmer over my core, and all I need to do is smooth the fabric a bit by
lifting it away from my body at the sides and tugging slightly, which
results in a smooth layer.
I have discovered that the Warmfront does have a tendency to bunch up a
bit once I pull a shirt over it, so I usually end up readjusting the
chest and waist area again for maximum coverage and minimum
The neck is very snug. When I first fastened it, my neck
immediately felt uncomfortably restricted. I have grown somewhat
used to this having put it on and off several times, and have found it
helps a bit to pull the neck higher which eases the restricted feeling
near what would be my 'Adams Apple'. I can also somewhat overcome
the constriction by not fully overlapping the Vel-Stretch Tab over the
hook side, however this results in part of the hook side being exposed
allowing it to grab onto the fabric at the neck of my shirt or to grab
my long hair, so it's not an entirely comfortable solution. For
the record, I seldom wear high neck clothing, so this may be more of a
problem for me than for others more used to higher tighter necks on
From some quick preliminary hikes in cooler weather (around 3 mi / 5 km
at around 40 F / 22 C) the Warmfront provides a cozy feeling of warmth,
particularly in the area around my neck and upper chest. It
appears to be well made with no apparent flaws in the fabric and mostly
even stitching although I did note a couple of stitches that have
looser or longer loops than the other stitches.
It is very light weight in feel and can be folded down to a compact
bundle measuring approximately 7.5 x 6 x 1.5 in (19 x 15 x 4 cm) or
rolled into a cylinder approximately the same size as a soft drink
can. It is very easy to remove if I get too warm - I simple
unfasten the neck and pull and voila! Presto, chango, one less
layer! It folds compactly enough to store in the cargo pants
pocket of my REI Sahara pants, the pocket of my Montbell U.L. Down
Inner Parka, or the hipbelt pocket of my GoLite Quest pack.
This concludes my Initial Report.
Field Report - April 8, 2008
I also used it on three longer day hikes. The first was about 6.5
mi (10.5 km) in the
Kanawha State Forest in central West Virginia, on a cloudy but dry day
with temperatures in the
25 F (-4 C) range at elevations from around 1000 to 1400 ft (300 to 400
m). Trails varied from smooth dirt to rugged rocky areas.
The photo to the right was taken on this trip.
The second was in Wine
Cellar Park near Dunbar West Virginia, consisting of around 4 mi/6.5
km. The day was sunny and around 50 F (10 C). The third was
about 6 mi (10 km) in western West
Virginia, on old dirt county roads and jeep trails, with temperatures
around 40 F (4 C) and no precipitation.
On all of these hikes, I wore it under an Ibex Woolies Zip-T, and most
of the time I also wore a Montbell U.L. Down Inner Jacket as an outer
I also wore the Warmfront during a sleeping system test in early
February, where I wore it with the Ibex Woolies Zip-T and the Montbell
U.L. Down Inner Jacket under a Nunatak Ghost which was customized for
warmer weather with an ounce (28 g) less down. I felt the
Warmfront was an important part of the sleeping system that allowed me
to extend the range of my summer quilt down to about 20 F (-7 C),
helping keep my core toasty warm.
I also took it on a recent
hiking trip to the Damascus, Virginia area,
but temperatures were mostly in the 50-60 F
range, with drizzly rain much of the time I was hiking. Since I
needed to wear my rain jacket, I stayed amply warm with only an Ibex
Woolies Zip-T while hiking, so while I carried the Warmfront in my pack
as an extra layer in case I needed back-up
'emergency' clothing layers, I did not wear it. It was nice to
know that the warmth was there in my pack in case I needed it, and it
took up only a little space.
Use and Findings So Far:
while wearing a daypack, I've found the Warmfront comfortable with the
Ibex Woolies Zip-T alone for temperatures above freezing to around 45 F
(7 C). In warmer temperatures, I have started hiking with the
Warmfront, only to need to remove it within 10-15 minutes of
hiking. The Warmfront is very simple to remove by simply
unfastening the hook and loop at the rear of the neck and pulling it
out of my shirt. Putting it back on while I am already wearing a
shirt is a little trickier, but can be managed.
In temperatures much below freezing I've found it necessary most of the
time (except on steep uphill sections) to also wear an additional
insulating layer. Also, if I was not wearing a daypack, I found
an insulating layer was welcome in temperatures up to around 40 F (4 C).
I do find the outer edges of the Warmfront tend to move toward the
center as I hike, so it ends up not covering quite as much of my front
as I would like, but it does keep my neck, throat, and upper chest much
warmer, and does a great job of blocking wind in these areas.
As I've worn the Warmfront, I've become more used to the high neck and
it does not feel quite as restrictive and uncomfortable there as it did
when I first got it. I still find it more comfortable to pull the
neck up higher rather than wearing it lower, and I've found wearing it
this way, I can fully overlap the hook and loop so that it does not
catch on my hair or the neck of my shirt.
One of my most interesting uses for the Warmfront was on a cold and
windy day. The Montbell U.L. Down Inner Parka was doing a good
job blocking wind from my body, but my face was getting really
chilly. I had not packed a balaclava, so I decided to try
wrapping the Warmfront around my face. I folded it in half and
tucked it around my face, and into the sides of the Montbell Inner
Parka hood. It worked! My face felt comfortable and much
warmer with the Warmfront surrounding it. The photo to the left
shows this experiment.
So far I have only needed to wash the Warmfront once, which simply
involved tossing it into the washing machine on gentle cycle with the
hook and loop at the neck fastened. I was afraid the hook and
loop might come loose, so I washed it separately, but found it stayed
fastened, and next time I won't hesitate to wash it with other
similarly dark colored fleece clothing.
I have not noticed any pilling or deterioration of the fabric or any
loose stitches. So far it looks pretty much like new.
Impressions So Far:
So far I'm impressed with the extra warmth and comfort the Warmfront
provides for only a couple of ounces (slightly over 50 g). It has
done a great job of blocking wind in the upper chest
and throat area. I do wish that the sides stayed in place better
during activity, and I wonder if having a larger women's size available
might solve that problem, and allow for more comfort in the neck area.
I like that the Warmfront is easy to remove while hiking, and can be
stuffed into a pocket or a small space in my pack for storage. Although
I originally thought it would be a single use item, I am pleased to
have found I can configure it to warm my face if breezy conditions make
it more helpful to use it that way than to wear it in the intended
Quality and workmanship seem to be good, and I feel it adds a lot of
versatility to my clothing system for a very minimal weight.
This concludes my Field Report.
Long Term Report - June 8, 2008
Since my last report, I've worn the Warmfront on three short (3m/5km)
late day hikes on old county roads in western West Virginia, with
temperatures running in the 40-50 F (5-10 C) range. One hike was
in drizzly rain, with the other two having clear weather conditions.
I also used the Warmfront during a 3 mi/5 km overnight backpacking trip
mid-April in the North
Bend State Park area in central West Virginia. Since temperatures
were in the 60 F (16 C) range during the day, I did not wear it hiking,
but I did use it as part of my clothing system in the evening and
morning when temperatures were around 50 F (10 C) to add a little
to the light weight wool top I wore.
I also wore it during a 3-day, 2-night
backpacking trip in the Canaan Mountain area of the Monongahela
National Forest in eastern West Virginia, covering around 27 mi (43.5
km). Conditions ran the gamut on this trip. The first day
was cool, with temperatures in the 50 - 60 F (10-16 C) range, dropping
to just above freezing (around 33 F/1 C) the first night. Camp on
this night was in a relatively damp area near several small streams,
with the ground boggy in areas, which added to the chill. The
second day was warmer, with night temperatures only falling to around
52 F (11 C). Camp this night was on a high ridge, in dry
Use and Findings:
measly 2.05 oz (58 g), I've found the Warmfront has a lot of
versatility. It is nearly perfect for pulling on when I feel just
a bit of chill as evening temperatures drop, yet it is still too warm
for a jacket. It's also handy to add just the right touch of
warmth when worn in conjunction with arm warmers to make sitting by a
campfire on a cool evening comfortable. I found this particularly
appealing on my recent Canaan Mountain trip, when the group had a
roaring campfire the first evening. This is the type of situation
where I really don't like to wear my down jacket for fear it will be
damaged by a stray spark, and also so I don't end up with the down
smelling like campfire smoke for the rest of my trip. I don't
like to wash my down gear any more often than I have to, so it's nice
to have the Warmfront for these occasions since it is much easier
to wash to get rid of the campfire smell.
One thing I've come to really appreciate about the Warmfront is how
easy it is to put on and take off. I've found that I can just
fasten the hook and loop neck and then easily shove the Warmfront down
into my shirt in the front, reach under the hem, and tug it all in
place. If I unfasten my hip belt, I can even do this with my pack
on. And nothing could be easier than removing it - I simply reach
around to the back of my neck, unfasten the hook and loop, and
pull. Presto, chango. Much easier than trying to remove the
top layer, then the mid-layer, then put the top layer back on, like I
would if I were wearing a more traditional full shirt as a
mid-layer. As a woman who regularly backpacks with mixed sex
groups, it's also more modest. I don't have to look around for a
big tree to find a place to remove an inner layer.
The ease in adding or removing the Warmfront has been appreciated when
sleeping too. On the North Bend trip and the second night of the
Canaan Mountain trip, I began by wearing the Warmfront when I retired
to my hammock for the night. Both nights I became too warm about
mid-night, and it was very nice to be able to just unfasten and pull
the Warmfront off while I was still laying down under my quilt.
If I had been wearing a more traditional shirt, I would have had to sit
up and struggle to get it off over my head, which is not only less
comfortable, but also means waking up to a greater extent. I can
remove the Warmfront while still half asleep and go right back to
getting my zzzz's. I can also add it relatively easily if I get
cooler toward morning like I did during the North Bend trip, or just
tuck it around my neck as a comfortable neck warmer like I did during
the second night of the Canaan Mountain trip. The soft fleece of
the Warmfront feels very good against my skin, like a snuggly
I thought the Warmfront was a great addition to my clothing system on
both of my backpacking trips, but especially on the Canaan Mountain
trip, where the temperatures ranged so widely. It was comfortable
with a light wool top when it was merely cool, and was great with my
down jacket when it was colder. It was definitely an important
part of my sleep system on the first night when I ended up wearing
everything I had brought with the exception of my mud-splattered
convertible hiking pants and a light wind shirt. Even at its
minimal weight, the warmth added by the Warmfront was very noticeable.
Another thing I found I really like about the Warmfront is how easy it
is to carry in my pack. It takes only a tiny bit of space
there. I can also tuck it inside a cargo pocket of my pants, so I
could start hiking with it on for warmth in the mornings and then
remove it as I warmed up and simply tuck it into my pants pocket.
At break time it was easy to pull it back out and put it on as I cooled
I have found one small negative about the Warmfront, which is that it
does have a tendency to bunch up toward the middle, which is evident in
the photo above. Honestly I am not that lumpy and bumpy without
the Warmfront! As in my Field Report, I wonder whether having a
wider width size available would help the fabric stay in place better
on the sides.
The Warmfront chest warmer is a great addition to a clothing and sleep
system for gram counters like me. At a mere 2.05
oz (58 g) it is very versatile, layering well, and providing a
surprising amount of warmth for the weight. It packs small, stows
easily away, and is easy to put on and take off. It's a real
winner in my experience, and will be in my pack on many future
The only improvement I would suggest is making a larger women's size
This concludes the test series.
Thanks to Warmfront and BackpackGearTest.org
opportunity to test this chest warmer.
Read more reviews of Warmfront gear
Read more gear reviews by Pamela Wyant